'Failure is not an option,' Ted Turner tells Earth Day crowd at Iron Horse Winery event

  • Ted Turner, right, speaks with National Geographic's Boyd Matson in front of a crowd during an Earth Day event at Iron Horse Vineyards in Sebastopol, California on Sunday, April 17, 2011. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

The best way CNN founder Ted Turner could describe the environmental crisis facing humanity, as he sees it, on Sunday was with a baseball analogy:

"It's the seventh inning and we're down by two runs," Turner said. "We have to hold them where they are and put three runs on the board in the last two innings."

Convince people to have fewer children. Convince coal and oil industry leaders to shift toward wind, solar and other alternative energy sources. Convince the world's leaders to abandon nuclear weapons.

Ted Turner In Sebastopol


Turner pulled a copy of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty out of his wallet and read it to the guests at Iron Horse Winery in Sebastopol as they sipped wine on hay bales at the hilltop vineyard. He thinks big, and he told the people gathered for a pre-Earth Day gala at the winery to demand big changes toward earth-friendly policies.

"Failure is not an option," Turner said.

About 300 people listened to Turner discuss his hopes for the planet with National Geographic adventurer Boyd Matson at the benefit wine-tasting event.

The billionaire's message left Jack Rohrman, 72, of Santa Rosa with a mixture of hope and overwhelm.

"It's almost an impossible dream," Rohrman said. "I guess you've got to have hope."

Sunday's benefit was the vineyard's fifth annual Earth Day event, said Joy Sterling, Iron Horse chief executive officer. Guests paid $65 to hear Turner's talk and try wines from Green Valley wineries and bison steaks from Turner's purveyor. Special $300 tickets bought visitors a private tasting event with the billionaire guest of honor.

The profits from ticket sales will go toward Turner's Captain Planet Foundation, which supports youth environmental education programs.

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